Orwell depicts a gray world dominated by Big Brother and its vast network of agents, including the Thought Police, quashing freedom in a totalitarian world in which news is manufactured according to the authorities’ will and people live tepid lives by rote. Winston Smith, the hero with no heroic qualities, longs only for truth and decency. But living in a social system in which privacy does not exist and where those with unorthodox ideas are brainwashed or put to death, he knows there is no hope for him. The year 1984 has come and gone, yet George Orwell’s nightmare vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is still the great modern classic of negative Utopia.
Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell's nightmare vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff's attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell's prescience of modern life--the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language--and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written.